Reebok Hands Over Creative Duties to DDB From McGarryBowen

Omnicom Shop Charged With Rebuilding Brand Globally

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CHICAGO ( -- Reebok International has shifted its creative-advertising account to Omnicom's DDB from Dentsu's McGarryBowen.

DDB will be charged with piloting Reebok out of a brutal tailspin.
DDB will be charged with piloting Reebok out of a brutal tailspin.
DDB, which will run the business out of its Berlin, Chicago and Hong Kong offices, will be charged with piloting the brand out of a brutal tailspin. Its U.S. market share has fallen to about 2%, down from nearly 9% in 2005, when it was purchased by Adidas in a $3.8 billion deal. Its ad budget has also dwindled in recent years, with the brand spending $14 million on U.S. measured media in 2007 and just $8 million between January and November 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Global sales have fallen as well, though not as precipitously. Analysts say the company's best growth prospects likely lie in emerging markets such as India and Russia.

DDB's global creative will be led by DDB Germany Executive Creative Director Amir Kassaei, who is best known for his work on Volkswagen and Ikea.

What DDB has to offer
"DDB showed us incredible depth of creative resources around the world, deep thinking in nontraditional arenas and a passion for creative solutions beyond advertising," said Rich Prenderville, Reebok's head of global brand marketing. "Under the leadership of Amir and the team he and DDB have assembled, we are on the global offensive to drive great creative results for our brand."

"Reebok is a fantastic brand, and we are delighted with our partnership with Rich and his team," said Chuck Brymer, president-CEO of DDB Worldwide Communications Group. "I am also very proud of the partnership and creativity our DDB offices have once again demonstrated on behalf of a client."

McGarryBowen had worked with Reebok since 2004. Its biggest single effort for the marketer was a 2007 campaign for its running shoes, dubbed "Run Easy," which did not boost sliding sales.

Focus on women
In a recent conference call with Wall Street analysts, Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer said the brand would be trying to rebound by focusing on its historic strength, women's fitness, in the year ahead.

He said the first step on Reebok's road to recovery is to "own women's fitness based on the brand's long-standing credibility with female consumers."

The company's other priorities, he said, are to "challenge in men's sport with a particular focus on leveraging the brand's clear understanding of athletes' training needs. And third, to revive classics, exploiting Reebok's iconic sports heritage and energizing this with a modern look and feel."

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